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Balanced Scoring Effort Leads North Carolina Over Furman

by Press Release

GREENVILLE, S.C. - Fourteen different Tar Heel players scored goals as the North Carolina men's lacrosse team opened its 2014 season with a 19-3 win over Furman Sunday afternoon at Paladin Stadium before a crowd of 1,456 fans.

The Tar Heels, ranked #2 in the preseason by the USILA coaches and #3 in the Inside Lacrosse media poll, won its season opener for the 16th straight season. Furman, playing its first NCAA Division I season under coach Richie Meade (North Carolina '76), fell to 0-2 on the campaign.

Coach Joe Breschi's team excelled defensively, limiting the Paladins to three goals. That total is the fewest by a UNC opponent since March 18, 2008 when the Tar Heels defeated Marist 12-3 at Fetzer Field.

The Tar Heels outshot the Paladins 48-20 on the afternoon. Carolina won the ground ball battle 34-12 and took a 16-9 advantage at the face-off X. The Tar Heel defense harassed the Paladins into 16 turnovers while UNC committed only nine. Senior R.G. Keenan won 11 face-offs on the day to pass the 600 mark in career face-off wins. He now has 605, a total 118 shy of the school record.

Fourteen Tar Heels found the back of the goal led by junior Joey Sankey who recorded a hat trick. Sankey now has nine career hat tricks and he has recorded a point in 22 straight games.

Sophomores Spencer Parks and Brent Armstrong and senior T.J. Kemp each notched a pair of goals while sophomore Patrick Kelly scored once and added three assists. Those were the first three assists of Kelly's career.

Senior Will Campbell, sophomores Joe Costigan and Steve Pontrello and freshman Shane Simpson each had a goal and an assist for the Tar Heels. Other goal scorers for the Tar Heels were Pat Foster, Chad Tutton, Luke Goldstock, Michael Tagliaferri and Peyton Klawinski. Tutton's goal allowed him to extend his goal-scoring streak to 14 successive games over the past two seasons. Ryan Creighton and Drew Hays each recorded assists in the game for the Heels.

Three different Furman players had a goal each - Kenny Meinsen, Chase Hancock and Ben Levin.

After the Tar Heels went up early on unassisted goals by Shane Simpson and Spencer Parks, the Paladins notched back-to-back goals to tie the game at 2-2 with 2:49 left in the first quarter. The Tar Heels responded with a three-goal run in the final two minutes of the first quarter to go up 5-2 and never looked back after that point.

Brent Armstrong put the Tar Heels up for good with 2:02 left in the first quarter off an assist by Patrick Kelly. Michael Tagliaferri followed with his first career goal at 1:07, a score which proved to be the eventual game-winner, and then Ryan Creighton fed Joe Sankey for a goal with 12 seconds to make it 5-2.

Those three goals were the start of a 12-goal run by the Tar Heels as they went up 14-2 with 14:47 to play in the game. Patrick Kelly, T.J. Kemp and Chad Tutton scored second quarter goals to put the Heels up 8-2 at intermission. Carolina then outscored the Paladins 5-0 in the third quarter as goals by Pat Foster, Sankey, Kemp, Steve Pontrello and Sankey made it 13-2. Sankey's second goal of the quarter, completing his hat trick on the day, came with one second to play.

Both teams substituted extensively in the fourth quarter. Spencer Parks scored off an assist by Drew Hays 13 seconds into the fourth quarter before Kenny Meinsen tallied for Furman with 13:37 to play. That goal ended a 34:12 scoring drought for the Paladins against the Tar Heel defense, spanning the second and third quarters in their entirety.

UNC went on to score five more times with Joe Costigan, Peyton Klawinski, Brent Armstrong (his second of the game), Will Campbell and Luke Goldstock notching scores.

Sophomore Kieran Burke started his 18th straight game in goal for UNC and made seven saves while allowing two goals in 45 minutes. Redshirt freshman Duncan Saunders, in his Carolina debut, made one save and allowed one goal in 13:14 and Bradley Dunn finished out the duties for Carolina, playing the final 1:46 in goal. Furman starter Frazer Kinsley made 13 saves in goal in 51:15 before Jake Gavin came on to make three saves in the final 8:45.

Three Tar Heels shared face-off duties with senior R.G. Keenan winning 11 of 17 face-offs and posting a game-high five ground balls. Freshman Stephen Kelly won three of four face-offs and his older brother, Frankie Kelly, a senior, was two for four on face-offs. Hill Blaze took the majority of the draws for Furman, going 9 for 21.

The Tar Heels will be back in action next Saturday at 1 p.m. when they play host to the Manhattan Jaspers at Fetzer Field in Carolina's 2014 home opener.